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Matt Fitzpatrick needed a miracle to hold off Will Zalatoris on Sunday in the final round of the U.S. Open, and his win came down to the final hole.
Fitzpatrick held a one-stroke lead going into 18. His tee shot sailed into the bunker, raising eyebrows and potentially opening a door for Zalatoris to force a playoff. However, on the second shot from the bunker, Fitzpatrick managed to lift it out of the sand and 18 feet away from the hole.
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It was a career-defining shot for Fitzpatrick.
“It’s one of the best shots I ever hit, no doubt about it,” the Englishman said.
It was Fitzpatrick’s first major victory of his career at one of the toughest courses, The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. He was coming off his best finish at the PGA Championship last month in which he finished tied for fifth.
He is only the second player to win the men’s U.S. Open and the men’s U.S. Amateur at the same venue. Jack Nicklaus is the only other golfer to pull off the feat.
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“The feeling’s out of this world,” Fitzpatrick said. “It is so cliche, but it’s stuff you dream of as a kid. Yeah, to achieve it, I can retire a happy man tomorrow.”
Zalatoris had a chance to send it to a playoff, but his long putt was inches away.
“When it was two feet out, I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, that one’s in,’ and for some reason it went off to the left,” said Scottie Scheffler, who finished tied for second with Zalatoris. “It’s one of those deals. You’ve got to get the breaks.”
Fitzpatrick started to get hot once May started.
He finished tied for second with Cameron Young and Keegan Bradley at the Wells Fargo Championship. He carried that momentum into the PGA Championship, finishing two strokes off the lead behind Justin Thomas and Zalatoris.
Though he missed the cut at Memorial, he bounced back at the RBC Championship with a top-10 finish. It all culminated in his first major championship at the U.S. Open.
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He finished his U.S. Open title with a total of 274, including a 68 in the final round. He finished Sunday with five birdies and three bogeys.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.